You’ll be a Man my Son by Sundance Hollingsworth (SKD: 1st Place Poetry)

youll be a man my son

what does it mean to be a man
when everyone can
see that he
is struggling
when the nights
are longer than the days

what does it mean to be a man
when he paints his nails
and feels attractive
in eyeliner

what does it mean to be a man
when he wakes up and thinks
im still here goddamn it
and sometimes he wakes up and thinks
goddamn it
im still here

when all the men around him
like to turn wrench and screw
and all he really wants to do
is turn a certain phrase or two
to make something thats bright and new
and he doesnt know the
first thing about guy shit

what does it mean to be a man
when he is told
men dont cry
he has to take a knee
at videos of dogs learning to love again

when he is uncomfortable
in his skin but
right at home
in his mind

when the smell of rain on pavement
excites him in a
sleepovers and saturday morning cartoons
kind of way

when he looks at himself
in the mirror and
hes been told all his life
through candy coated screens and magazines
real men
look like greek myth and
he thinks that
he could maybe see dionysus with the gut if he squints and
thats not really what they meant and
besides hes too short anyway and
why is it that his face is clear but his thighs are riddled with fossilized puberty and
does his smile look weird and should he get another piercing or is that overkill and
why wont his beard just grow in regularly and

what does it mean to be a man?
fuck if i know man
i just work here